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Jordan and Egypt

Hey all. So I decided just posting the odd Instagram post wasn’t enough to irritate people back home - I decided to write a fairly infrequent blog as well so I can remember funny things that happen along the way and assure people that I’m both alive and injury free (so far so good). So my trip actually started at Gatwick airport where I was fortunate enough to meet Stef and Ben - two friends of mine I had met a year before in Peru who ironically had just visited London and the rest of Europe while I was going away. It was a helpful start to me as I was feeling a bit guilty and anxious for leaving my mum and dad whilst he is unwell who I had visited the weekend before leaving. Catching up with the guys (albeit for an hour) was great as it reminded me of the awesome people you can meet along the way. I gave them some tips for their travels and we agreed to sort something out whenever I find myself in Melbourne!

So an 8 hour flight including a 3 hour wait off at Malta finally got me to my first stop of Amman in Jordan. It seemingly isn’t the most obvious location to start a trip as many people (mainly at work) were concerned it’s the type of place I could drunkenly get myself in trouble. I’d organised the first part of this trip via Intrepid travel as a bit rushed and mainly just wanted to see Petra and the Pyramids and it meant I would be with a group too. The group was a bit of a mix- some similar aged and some older and a cross of Americans, Aussies, English, a Kiwi, an Ecuadorean and a 66 yo Korean lady. We all started off well and 5 of us went out in Amman led by an Aussie guy called Yas. Unfortunately we were learning the hard way that Jordan is bloody hard to find alcohol as we trekked through about 5 non-alcohol serving ones. Yas had found one that was the only LGBT friendly bar in the city and definitely served alcohol but we decided to avoid that one... thought that could be a dangerous way to start in this region with the civil rights issues they have here! Thankfully we found a rooftop bar and I sampled my first foreign ale... Carakale Blonde Ale which was surprisingly good considering it was brewed locally.

As the trip went on I was getting on well with Yas the Aussie and Ray, a comedian of a Kiwi who quickly labelled us the habibis. (Pretty sure this means friend or brother in Arabic but none of us or the locals seemed completely sure). Will the Ecuadorean, Robert ( a cool elder English guy from Yorkshire) and Erwin ( a doctor from Essex) quickly made up the group! Without discussing ridiculous amounts of what we got up to the route basically took us to a mountain where Moses supposedly died, a castle, we swam in the Dead Sea which was a crazy floating experience and ultimately we arrived in Petra by the nightfall. This was the first evening where there was a bit of a split in the group as Jai (the Korean lady) decided it was acceptable to go around eating everybody’s meal as they came out. She ate some of mine before I’d eaten anything but being British was too polite to say anything., Thankfully Yas made it clear he wasn’t happy about that and she then pretty much became a recluse to the group the rest of the trip- later in Egypt she even moved to a different hotel for 4 nights in Bohol to not have to stay with us which was pretty extreme behaviour. Anyway - on to Petra. Hard to do it justice as it was just spectacular and Robert, Ray, Yas, Matt and I ended up walking about 20km together across all the varying majestic views. The way they built the temples from the top of the rock down was truly unreal and a real sight to behold.

Anyway, after this unreal day where the 5 of us had also got on really well together, we made the first mistake of the trip. Yas, Matt and I decided we would treat ourselves and our weary legs by paying for a local Jordanian massage in the hotel. A quite bizarre experience- it turned out there was only one male masseuse and he was going to be massaging all 3 of us in a row rotating us between a steam room. With me being third up, I arrived to the table to see Yas naked having a shower... seemed a bit odd. Perhaps the most bizarre part was that the Jordanian masseuse had actually changed and was now also topless which I did start to question. Now I can’t go into too much detail here as Matt, Yas and I have sworn as blood brothers to never fully reveal what happened in that room. But safe to say it was a massage like I’ve never had before and unsure if I’ll ever be the same man. The relief in the steam room of hearing that the lads had shared the same experience was reassuring. But yeh- avoid massages in Jordan unless you want an unwelcome and unexpected technique that may have you feeling slightly violated afterwards haha. Oh final thing- after this experience we also went to a local Jordanian family’s house where they cooked us local food and their young son hosted us - basically an 8 year old Tony Soprano want-to-be who offered lots of entertainment.

The next day we drove on to Wadi Rum and spent the night in the desert. A first desert for me so a surreal experience and the sunset was well worth it. We also climbed various rocks and treks - Robert in particular was struggling after the exertions of the day around Petra effectively blaming us for bullying him up there but all in good jest. The night was bloody Baltic but an awesome experience and we started the next day getting a camel ride back across the desert to the entrance. Safe to say I rocked it on a camel until I tried to get a selfie after and he tried to bite my face. We ended the day at another city nearby called Aqaba where we could see Israel and Saudi Arabia across the sea. I watched an Arsenal game too- think it got called the most boring match of the season against Everton. Glad to be away from that shite for a while. We then had quite an experience on a late ferry which got us across the sea to Egypt - firstly the American lady was arguing with everyone as we were lacking one ticket. After a big argument and a few disagreements it turned out Jai had 2 all along.... bloody typical but very funny! Then when we arrived at 3am Ray managed to get himself locked in the ferry with the local Jordanians as we were leaving. Thankfully he got out (he was completely calm about this saying he was just making some more habibi’s). We arrived at Nuweiba and after a freezing night in some beach huts we went on to Dahab for three nights. The real highlight here was that Erwin, William, Yas and I decided to do our first every diving experience in the Red Sea at a spot called the lighthouse. I was always apprehensive about this but absolutely loved it and lasted 39minutes underwater without any breaks and went to 12m low which was apparently lower than I should have been. Absolutely decided that I need to do more diving on this trip and would try and get my PADI Openwater done in the Phillipines. We also did some snorkelling in the Blue Hole the next day which was also fairly class.

Right- final part of this trip saw us get a bus journey to Cairo. We then had the Egyptian national dish of Kushari as a group- basically a mix of multiple pastas, lentils, chickpeas and topped with chilli, tomato sauce and garlic. Looked pretty horrendous but actually tasted alright. We had a weird situation in the restaurant where a local Muslim lady came over and asked for my number. It was more surprising by the fact that it was pretty much the first woman we had seen on any of this trip. Obviously culturally very different and when I understood that they cannot even be touched by a man until they are married, I thought I’d pass up on this opportunity! She seemed nice though! :-) So this was the end of the Intrepid trip for Robert and I but we had agreed to do the Pyramids together on Xmas Day. Robert was actually a class guy- lots to talk about as fellow northerners and he has had a recent love of travelling so gave me lots of tips. We had a great day seeing the pyramids. It was crazy how close they were to Cairo city centre (which is a bit of a shithole really). We spent the day exploring and learning more about the 3 major pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx and we went inside the main pyramid to see the tomb too. We also went and saw Tutunkhamun at the main museum and all the major mummies. They resembled me after certain hangovers actually so quite relatable experience. Anyway I bid farewell to Robert and spent my final day alone in Cairo which was just carnage really. Roads don’t have traffic lights and they just go nuts to a ‘fill the cap’ policy. Final thing I did was watch another Arsenal game in a bar where the young lads running it took a shine to me for being English and kept putting Mo Salah songs on the radio. He insisted on adding me on Instagram and by the time I had got home he had already messaged asking how I knew one of my friend’s wives and if he could get an introduction. Becky Moran - life could have been different for you!! But at that point I decided to remove him as a contact.

Cool - so this is my first post. I’ll get better at keeping these much briefer but loads to put in some of these. Highlights of the trip were of course Petra and the Pyramids which were both spectacular. But in meeting guys like Yas, Ray and Robert I’m sure we will keep in touch and potentially see them later on the trip. Just need to forget that massage.... on to the Philippines for NYE next and first proper solo travelling alone in hostels :-)

Posted by Esuich 00:23 Archived in Jordan

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Comments

Thanks for sharing your experiences and advice...

by Vic_IV

Hi Eddie
nice to here you talk about me in such a good light .
Glad your still having great time I will try and follow your blog along the way
Cheers Robert

by Robert eades

I skimmed through that till I got to 'Yas naked in a shower' then saw no bang. Keep em coming. Shag em all.

by Top Shagger

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